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The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Lebanon faces new curbs after new year Covid-19 spike

Lebanon has recorded more than 189,000 virus cases (Getty)

Date of publication: 4 January, 2021

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The Lebanese government announced tightened restrictions through January in a bid to contain a spike in novel coronavirus infections threatening to overwhelm its health infrastructure.

The Lebanese government on Monday announced tightened restrictions through January in a bid to contain a spike in novel coronavirus infections threatening to overwhelm its health infrastructure.

The authorities had eased measures in December but scenes of revellers thronging bars and clubs during the holiday season had left little doubt that fresh restrictions were on the way.

Health Minister Hamad Hassan emerged from a long meeting of the committee tasked with battling the pandemic to announce a batch of measures to take effect "starting on Thursday morning and until the morning of February 1".

Read also: Lebanon's post office releases controversial stamp featuring photo of Beirut explosion

The official National News Agency said restrictions include a 6:00 pm to 5:00 am curfew. The full list of measures is expected to be unveiled on Tuesday.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Lebanon has recorded more than 189,000 cases and around 1,500 deaths. A record 3,500 cases were reported on December 31.

Health professionals have warned that the latest surge in cases risked causing a major catastrophe across Lebanon, which is already struggling with the aftermath of a devastating August explosion and its worst ever economic crisis.

"Over the past three weeks, the occupancy rate of intensive care units has increased by 10 percent," pushing the occupancy of hospital beds in Beirut to over 90 percent of capacity, Covid-19 taskforce head Petra Khoury said on Saturday.

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